Special Education Programs and Services
The York Region District School Board has a strong tradition of fostering an inclusive, innovative and engagement-oriented community. The York Region District School Board also recognizes the importance of setting high expectations and closing the gap for students with special education needs. As a school board, our priorities are set out in the Board of Trustees’ Multi-Year Strategic Plan. To achieve those priorities, the Director’s Action Plan sets out six goals that align with the strategic plan and our Board’s Mission, Vision and Values. In alignment with the concepts in the Ministry of Education’s Learning for All, the Director’s Action Plan goals focus on raising the achievement of students who are underserved and underperforming. When we focus on raising the achievement and well-being of students who are underserved and underperforming, all students benefit.
In the York Region District School Board, Student Services is responsible for collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure successful facilitation and implementation of:
- a continuum of service delivery models responsive to pupil strengths and needs;
- skilled resource staff who work in an interdisciplinary approach that supports the development of quality programs for exceptional pupils;
- a tiered approach to prevention and intervention;
- high quality evidence-based assessment and personalized instruction;
- intentional planning, instruction and differentiation; and,
- inclusive and collaborative environments where all staff, students, parents and community members are engaged as partners.
In the 2018-2019 school year, Student Services focused on building capacity and creating a collective responsibility through:
- Updated Policy 663.0 The Partnerships with External Agencies for Provision of Services by Regulated Health Professionals, Regulated Social Services Professionals,and Paraprofessionals;
- Updated Policy 610.0 Reporting Children and Youth in Need of Protection; and
- Provided system wide training in regards to the changes and updates of Policy 662.0 and Policy 610.0.
- Delivered the Speech Language Pathologist (SL-P)Conference, Navigating the Discourse Continuum in the Classroom; and,
- Assistive Technology Consultants hosted Quest Conference Playground, in collaboration with FNMI team, using Assistive Technology to support students accessing experiences outside of the classroom and sharing their ideas so that others will listen.
Programs and Pilot Projects
- Provided an After School Skills Development Program for 300 students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with a focus on personalized goal setting and skill building in collaboration with families.
- Provided PEERS Social Skills program for Intermediate students;
- Continuing to train staff as Empower™ Reading Program instructors to deliver intensive support to struggling readers;
- Supported Summer Institute program with Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists (PT/OT) consultation to support students with physical, personal care and equipment needs;
- In July 2019, in partnership with Children’s Treatment Network (CTN), ran the Summer Teen Independent Living program, co-designed by students, and included experiential learning opportunities using transit, managing and directing personal and attendant care and an overnight at York University in an accessible dorm;
- Partnered with Research Services for the implementation of the Executive Functioning Pilot Project at 24 schools with students and teachers co-creating strategies to address the executive functioning barriers that prevent them from learning.
Professional Learning Opportunities
Special Education Training
Continued to provide Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) training to all new SERTs in elementary and secondary schools,as well as Individual Education Plan (IEP) and SSNET drop in sessions for all SERTs/teachers.
Provided sessions to support elementary and secondary Educational Assistants and Teachers with the use of Google Read&Write, EquatIO, Clicker, SMART Notebook, Boardmaker, Kurzweil and more.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Provided numerous opportunities to support the programming, planning and implementation of educational programs for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including opportunities for self-directed online learning as well as full-day/half-day/after school professional learning sessions.
- Engaged in collaborative Teacher Inquiry with Classroom Teachers, SERTs, Student Services Consultants, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Autism Consultants with a focus on social communication supports and success for students identified with Autism in the typical classroom setting;
- Provided collaborative teacher inquiry with SERTs in French Immersion schools with a focus on responsive planning and instruction for students with identified learning disabilities in the French Immersion classroom;
- In collaboration with outdoor education curriculum partners, offered adaptive equipment including all terrain wheelchairs, winter wheelchair sledges and adapted sleds to enable all students to access the curriculum and school activities during winter months including skating programs, Outdoor Education centres and playground/outdoor school spaces;
- Continued to collaborate with the New Teacher’s Induction Program (NTIP) Consultants in supporting sessions for new teachers of students with special education needs;
- Partnered with Inclusive Schools and Community Services and Curriculum and Instructional Services to provide a variety of summers school opportunities such as:
- Reach ahead program for students with Special Equipment Amount (SEA) technology entering Grade 9;
- Discovering the Workplace course specifically designed to support elementary school students with a mild intellectual disability on their transition into high school;
- Grade 6, 7 & 8 Literacy and Numeracy reinforcement program for students who have an IEP;
- Collaborated with Trillium Demonstration School while supporting YRDSB schools through the intake process for students with severe learning disabilities;
- Partnered with Early Intervention Services (EIS) to foster a strong working relationship to support the successful entry of children into Junior and Senior Kindergarten including Early Intervention Orientation Evening sessions;
- Partnered with community agencies regarding accessibility;
- Engaged in a formal partnership with Children’s Treatment Network (CTN) to provide Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, Communication Disorders Assistant and Coordinated Service Planning services to children/youth and their families to address their home and community rehabilitation, service coordination and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) needs;
- Collaborated with Kinark Child and Family Services to support the transition of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder from Intensive Behavioural Intervention into school through the Connections for Students program;
- Collaborated with Kerry’s Place and Mackenzie Health to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder through Applied Behaviour Analysis Services;
- Collaborated with York Support Services Network to offer Mindfulness groups to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities;
- Maintained membership within the York Region ASD Partnership, working collaboratively with agency partners and community members to align services for children with ASD in York Region; and,
- In collaboration with York Region Athletic Association and with support from Motion Specialties, coordinated and ran the Students of Differing Abilities Track Meets for students across York and Simcoe regions in which over 1,000 elementary students and 300 secondary athletes participated.
Regulated Healthcare Professionals - Support & Training
- Provided formal training for all PT/OT staff in Partnering for Change (P4C) evidenced based approach to address motor skills using a tiered model of intervention to inform the development of the PT/OT service delivery model;
- Provided PT/OT workshops in the areas of sensory processing, fine and gross motor development;
- Continued delivery of workshops for families of students with mild articulation difficulties;
- Continued provision of support to enhance oral language and phonological awareness for students entering kindergarten in September through the Building Blocks for Kindergarten summer program;
- Continued delivery of support to augment oral language and phonological awareness for students in junior and senior kindergarten programs; and
- Trained Board approved interpreter/translators to facilitate collaboration with regulated health professionals.
Development of Resources
- Developed tier one and two resources based on the evidence from Partnering for Change (P4C) to support motor skill development and sensory processing in our primary classrooms.
Updated November 2019